Saturday, December 12, 2009

~ drawing nigh

For Polly the end of the school year is drawing nigh. Her report has come home and she appears to be doing rather well, particularly in English and art. Her spelling is atrocious, mind you, but I'm reasonably sure it's at least average for a seven year old. Polly's 'interpersonal skills', in the language of today's educators, were singled out for particular praise.

To tell the truth, it's a relief - the tumultuous nature of our 2009 led to a slump in parental participation when it came to homework and assignments and all that slumbers beneath the silky rubric of Extra Curricular Activity.

You see, when it comes to ECA, some parents do. Some parents don't.

With a commitment bordering on the religious, do-bees paint fairy faces, attend Monday morning assemblies and trudge the suburb selling raffle tickets. They sweat through every working-bee. They man the sausage sizzles and the op-shops. And I doubt the school could operate without them.

In the Season of the Yo-Yo, it is they who appease their pleading children - young minds still reeling from a brutal detonation of colour, sound and spectacular skill enacted by some fly-by-night Yo-Yo Demonstration Team. I wonder ... since I still live in the same area ... could it be the same team - many generations of yo-yo prodigies removed - that visited my school when I was six?

Could there be a manager, nearing retirement age, who has eked out a living cynically reigniting the Ancient Greek fad across the primary schools of the city? Has he - like some very lightweight, commercially-minded
Ahasuerus - been working without respite for millennia? Is he indeed something akin to the Wandering Jew? Or might he be part of a guild which meets each century to negotiate operational borders and corporate sponsorship?

The yo-yos are brighter these days - ours had a white rim and bore a simple red Coke-a-Cola logo. The new ones are fatter and the plastic is different. Lighter. Ours were of a denser material, an archaic polymer now rarely seen - in my time, if one strayed into a robust attempt at Round The World then injury would certainly result.

Once the yo-yos were made in Japan, now they hail from China. Possibly, the string is all that remains the same. And possibly that devious, calculating, long-suffering YYDT manager is a deserving subject for a short story...

And I have strayed too far from my subject ...

Does the
school community have an opinion on the parents who don't engage in ECA? Is a subtle ostracism employed? Is there a suspension of that nod of recognition at eight-thirty each morning? Not to my knowledge... But I know little of such things ...

Both my partner and I help out when we can. But is it enough ...? Let me swear now, on my Honour, that the fruit 'shazliks' I prepare for Polly's end-of-year class party tomorrow will be sufficient. And edible. Even for children.

On Friday mornings this year, when circumstances permitted, I would go into the school and do reading with the kids. It's a thing the parents are encouraged to do, and I think I might have been the only volunteer for Polly's class. It's a useful way of keeping an eye on her reading, and it's interesting too; children are always interesting. Polly brought home a couple of cards from her fellow pupils thanking me for my efforts. It was nice. It was no big thing, but it made me feel appreciated for a few moments there ...

She also brought home a stack of artwork - to which, I'm afraid, you will now be subjected. (The final image is, I believe, a kangaroo.)

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BwcaBrownie said...

volunteer for minding a class?
very scary.
I escaped with a new respect for 2nd Grade teachers after volunteering with my friend Di, to mind a class of 7-year-olds at a very costly South Yarra primary school.
Two boys were intent on killing each other, and the rest were just pandemonium.
One of those kids is now 37 and has rotten spelling ability she tries to explain away by saying "in email it doesn't matter".

Helen said...

Oh, I remember the Coca-cola yoyos. There were Coke ones and Fanta ones. I loved them both. I tried recently to do a walk the dog and ? another trick I did which I've forgotten the name of, but my yo-yo-fu has gone.
Those artworks are excellent.